ACC Wellness Program Recognized by Austin Mayor Steve Adler

Benefits Manager Steve Hassel and Benefits Coordinator Gina Akin receive award from Mayor Steve Adler

The Austin Mayor’s Health & Fitness Council has named Austin Community College a Certified Partner in recognition of ACC’s Employee Wellness Program. MHFC Certified Partners, which include some Austin’s best-known employers, must offer initiatives addressing physical activity, nutrition, tobacco-free living, health education, and preventative services.

“A healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, which benefits our students and supports their success,” said President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes, an avid runner and enthusiastic advocate of the wellness program. “We’re grateful to those who have developed these initiatives and to the many faculty and staff who create a healthy workplace by participating.”


Established by the Human Resources Office in August 2013, ACC’s Employee Wellness Program has expanded beyond exercise classes to encompass programs on healthy eating, diabetes education, meditation, and other wellness practices. In addition to fitness classes, the program encourages employees to be active by using the stairs and taking advantage of campus walking trails. This spring the HR Office introduced “Mammo Mixers” to promote mammogram screenings.


Wellness Journey – ACC Stories of Inspiration

Richard Anderson
Service Center
System Administrator for Academic Computer Support
What health behavior did you change?
I have been on a multi-year health journey that began with a significant change in diet and losing 45 lbs about 5 years ago. Since then I had been much healthier overall, but skinny. Probably too skinny. I realized that my at-home workout routine wasn’t enough to get the results I wanted so I started ACC Wellness classes about a year ago with Beginners Yoga. I have now moved up to the Yoga Flow class and this was my first semester in the PiYo class.
What advice do you have for others who want make to make this change?
At any point in life we can decide to change who we are. It’s a choice we are blessed to have as living breathing Human Beings. Yet we are extremely adept at convincing ourselves that it isn’t a choice at all – that we’re stuck this way and there’s nothing we can do about it. We all have the ability to decide to change who we are. The first step is deciding to change what we do. And no matter how challenging it may seem, success is so much sweeter when it’s a choice we make for ourselves. Never-the-less, sometimes life forces our hand. Sometimes we have to redefine who we are even though we weren’t ready to. I don’t want to be a cancer survivor. I want to be a cancer destroyer.
Read how Richard overcame some struggles in his life.

Meredith Ross-Chong
Adjunct Faculty and Character at Large
What health behavior did you change?
With the busy-ness of work, family commitments, and volunteer activities, I had not been in a class or regular exercise endeavor in mnmnmnmlong. I began taking Tai Chi with Mark Leidig more than 2 years ago and have been consistently active, engaged and committed to the class.
What advice do you have for others who want make to make this change?
Get a Nike shirt that says “Just Do It”… and follow those instructions
Read how the Tai Chi class influenced Meredith’s life.

Mary Jo Stasiowski
Location: Cypress Creek
Job: TECE Coordinator
What health behavior did you change?
Trying to manage stress levels, increase my daily activity, and eat better.
What advice do you have for others who want make to make this change?
If you want to feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally you need to make time to do something that is good for your whole self. Work will still be there when you come back from class. I either come in early or stay later depends on what and where I am needed for that day.
Find out what Mary Jo did to take care of herself.

Melissa Brown

Campus location: Hays
Job: I work in the Campus Manager’s Office as an Administrative Assistant.
What health behavior did you change?
I decided in November of 2016 to become a vegetarian. That decision was based on the numerous positive benefits I have read about.
What advice do you have for others who want make to make this change? Take it slow! Make small changes and notice how you feel. You’ll be surprised how little changes make a big difference.  Read how Melissa made these changes.

Blanca Estela Lara

Campus: South Austin
Job: Science Technician
What health behavior did you change?

I made exercise a regular activity (5-6 times/week) and I changed my eating habits (ate mostly home cooked meals).

What inspires you to continue on your wellness journey?
My inspiration to continue on this wellness journey is my son. He is a teen and very athletic. He also loves the outdoors, so I want to have the energy and strength to keep up with him doing some of the activities he enjoys such as swimming, hiking, and working out. I also want to lead by example, so that he can see that exercise and healthy eating habits are essential at every stage of our lives. He has noticed the change and is very proud of me…especially proud that I now have biceps. He is motivated to do the same.
Find out how Blanca made these changes.

Share YOUR own success story here.